Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Air and Simple Gifts...

I don't generally write about politics on my blog. I feel that people's political choices are their own and if made in good conscious with the best intentions, should be respected. But I think that the inauguration, despite political encampments or dividing lines, was truly a spectacular event filled with hope. It's hard for me to remember any other moment where I felt so acutely patriotic or proud to be an American. One of the highlights of the event, I think, was the performance of John William's composition, Air and Simple Gifts, by Itzhak Pearlman and Yo-Yo Ma.


Anonymous said...

I'm 50 now, and know better than to believe the promises of politicians. I've been warned, and I believe, that we are headed for some of the hardest times in the history of this country. Political speeches seem to do little, any more, but cause bile to rise up into my throat and tickle a dull remembrance of rage against the two-party system's mockery of democracy and systematic robbery of the poor and middle-class. That all said, I was so surpised to find myself, like you, feeling hope well up from some unmapped place in my heart during the inauguration. Something has me believing in the scarcest possibility that our new President just might lead with vision and creativity, and that Americans just might have the germ of goodness still hiding within a thickened, scarred and faded hull...and that such a gardner just might nurture a widespread germination and those first, tender sproutings of hope and change. I spent the day watching, weeping, and muttering an agnostic's equivalent of a series of prayers. It's lovely to read that I wasn't the only one. But I wasn't sure many people felt the power of the performance of John Williams' composition, or understood its musical references and the reputations and talents of the assembled performers. It seemed oddly out of place among the more populist ceremonies, but certainly added to the persistent thrill my heart experienced as the day's ceremonies unfolded.

Andrew Thornton said...

I know how you feel. It seems like another life, but I used to be much more politically active. I worked on writing up clauses and amendments for 501(3)(c) organizations' PACs and I was there in Florida during the 2000 election and fought and struggled for an election, that in my opinion, was stolen. (And despite what anyone may think, we saw with our eyes BAGS of election ballots that were tossed into ditches - all uncounted.) Anyway, I think that what I walked away with from that was a sense of being tired and burnt out. Before that, I felt righteous and felt vigorous in my doings. I thought I could change the world... but was proven wrong over and over as far as politics were concerned. So, eventually I stopped believing... I became disenchanted with it all. And whether I was on the winning side or the losing side, I felt hollowed out. If we won, it was just a bunch of patting on the back... usually for something that would vanish and disappear, for some eventual broken promise. If we lost, it was a bunch of commisserating over how "they" were wrong. The "them" and "us" and "they" made me tired and fed up even more.

It's strange now, because it seems like for the first time, a leader has united us individually. Hope is such a personal thing. We each have our own desires and wishes. It has been one of the first times, where people from left and right have looked at what's really important and found a chance at having a middle ground - a ground where everyone can walk together.

I'm hopeful again and that says a lot.